Three Feet Under: The Impact of Floods on Urban Jobs, Connectivity, and Infrastructure
This paper analyses the degree to which infrastructure reliability and urban economic activity in several African cities is impacted by flooding. It combines firm-level micro data, flood maps, and several spatial data layers across cities through a harmonized geospatial network analysis. The analysis shows that a significant share of jobs in cities is directly affected by floods. It further details how transport infrastructure is subjected to significant flood risk that disproportionally affects main roads in many cities. While direct flood effects are revealed to be significant, this work further shows how knock-on implications for the entire urban economy might be even larger. Regardless of the direct flood exposure of firms, flooded transport networks mean that disruptions propagate across the city and drastically reduce the connectivity between firms. Access to hospitals is also found to be reduced significantly -- even during relatively light flooding events: From a third of locations in Kampala, floods mean that people would no longer be able to reach hospitals within the "golden hour" -- a rule of thumb referring to the window of time that maximizes the likelihood of survival after a severe medical incident. Overall, this study showcases the use of high-detail city-level analyses to better understand the localized impacts of natural hazards on urban infrastructure networks.
Rentschler, Jun; Braese, Johannes; Jones, Nick; Avner, Paolo
World Bank Group
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